I've always been interested in writing about the history of the NBA.
The NBA has gained a lot of records since its inception in 1946. For over 70 years, many players have passed through the league and set marks for other players to try to surpass. Out of all the records, these are five that I believe to be unbreakable.
- Wilt Chamberlain's Single-Season Points per Game
- John Stockton's Career Assist Record
- Boston Celtics' 8 Straight NBA Championships
- Wilt Chamberlain's Single-Season Rebounds per Game
- Wilt Chamberlain's Minutes per Game for a Season
1. Wilt Chamberlain's Single-Season Points per Game
Wilt Chamberlain has the record for the highest single-season scoring average of 50.4 points per game. This was during the 1961–62 season where he also made the record for highest average of field goal attempts and free throw attempts per game at 38 and 17, respectively. Three of the five records on this list belong to Wilt Chamberlain, partly because he was a freak of nature. He was 7’1” and was listed at 275 pounds; he may even have been around 290–300. He was strong as an ox and incredibly athletic.
The next highest season scoring average belongs to Michael Jordan with 37.09, nearly 13 points less. Wilt scored 50 or more points in a game 45 times in his record-breaking season, another record that still stands. Jordan only scored 50 or more points 39 times throughout his entire career.
In second place for most 50 point games in a season is Kobe Bryant. He only had 10 during the 2006–07 season. During that year, Kobe only averaged 31.6 points per game. Wilt himself also comes in second for the average PPG record at 44.8; he did this during the 1962–63 season.
2. John Stockton's Career Assist Record
John Stockton has the career assist record at 15,806. The main reasons I think this record is unbreakable is because it requires incredibly high averages, insane career longevity, and an almost superhuman durability. Stockton played 99.6% of his available games over the course of 19 seasons; he missed only 22 matches and averaged over thirty minutes a game.
The current active leader in assists is Chris Paul. At age 31, he has 8,012 assists, which only ranks him at 10th for the all-time record. Over the course of 12 years, Paul has played every game for his team in a season once. Stockton, on the other hand, did it 17 times. Paul has an availability rate of 87% in regular season games. In order to match Stockton, he would have to play until he’s 42 years old. That is one year older than the oldest point guard ever, Bob Cousy. This is assuming he maintains his current assist and availability rate.
There are no other current players who can even make a reasonable attempt at this record. Stockton also comes in at second for the all-time assists per game average.
3. Boston Celtics' 8 Straight NBA Championships
The Boston Celtics have won the championship 8 straight times between 1958–1966. They accomplished this during a time with no free agency or salary caps, both of which were instituted after Boston’s championship run.
No other team has won more than three championships in a row. Even that feat has only been achieved three times:
- The Chicago Bulls have done it twice with championship runs between 1991–1993 and again between 1996–1998.
- The Los Angeles Lakers did it between 2000–2002.
Boston was able to stockpile hall of fame talent for over a decade. Today, you’re lucky if you can keep a team together for three years. A team like the Oklahoma City Thunder at one point had Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. All three of them are MVP candidates, but the team could only keep them together for three years due to contracts. Boston was able to keep 5 hall of fame players together for over 5 years.
4. Wilt Chamberlain's Single-Season Rebounds per Game
Wilt Chamberlain has the single-season average rebounds per game record at 27.2. Chamberlain had a total of 2,149 rebounds in his best season, and he has the next 6 highest season totals as well.
The closest to touch this number since Wilt retired over 43 years ago was Dennis Rodman. He averaged 18.66 in 1991–92. The highest average in the last twenty seasons was Kevin Love's 15.23 in the 2010–11 season. That is still barely halfway to Chamberlain's record.
5. Wilt Chamberlain's Minutes per Game for a Season
Wilt Chamberlain has the record for average minutes per game for a season at 48.5. This was accomplished during his legendary 1961–1962 season. Keep in mind that a game has 48 regulation minutes. In order to beat this average, a player has to play entire games as well as overtimes.
The closest to reach this record in the last 25 years was Latrell Sprewell; he averaged 43.09 in 1993–94. With the NBA emphasizing restrictions on minutes lately, this record will likely never be broken. The highest number in the last six years comes from Loul Deng, who averaged 39.43 in the 2011–2012 season.
© 2017 Lawrence Wilson